Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn met sixth form students in Hucknall to mark International Women’s Day.
Youngsters stayed late at the Hucknall Sixth Form Centre, on Portland Road, on Thursday, to quiz the opposition leader and he heard their views on why the day matters.
When asked why Labour had never had a female leader, he said: “We have got more women MPs than all the other parties put together. It was Labour that supported votes for women when it was originally achieved. It is Labour that will force the end of the gender pay gap.”
He encouraged the students to get involved in politics, but reminded them that politics is about “serving people and not self-aggrandisement.”
When asked who were the strong female role models in politics, he said: “I think some of the great women would be Barbara Castle who achieved the Equal Pay Act and Jennie Lee who developed the Open University.
“Last night Diane Abbott told a meeting of women: “If I can do it – we can all do it.” That’s a great message.”
When asked how the gender pay gap could be closed, he praised the work of Iceland, who have achieved equal pay.
“It’s a question of supporting women in work and it’s about being very tough with the use of public spending to enforce equal pay.”
And when the Labour chief was asked how a future government inspire more women into politics, he said that all-female shortlists would be used to achieve a 50-50 balance, in Parliament and local government.
His whistle-stop tour included meeting women in Derby, door-knocking in Ripley and meeting female entrepreneurs in Alfreton.
Hucknall councillor Lauren Mitchell was invited by Mr Corbyn to tell students about her successful campaign for a bus route in West Hucknall.
Coun Nicolle Ndiweni said: “Until we see a fair and just society that treats everyone equally and supports all those in need, our work will never be done.”
Alice Grice, a former councillor, said: “We still have a gender pay gap of 18 per cent, women are still doing the majority of unpaid caring. International women’s day is a chance to highlight these issues, and show our solidarity with women across the globe.”